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Thread: A different way to stop a batch????

  1. #1
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    Default A different way to stop a batch????

    Hey all,

    Just had an idea that might lend itself well to the non-chemical approach to meadmaking, although a purist might argue it violates that principle.

    Want to stop a batch at a certain SG? How about adding enough Everclear to send the yeast over their alcohol limit when the batch hits the desired SG?

    I'd like to solicit serious thoughts on the topic. It seems like a shot glass or two of Everclear in a 5 or 6 gallon batch would increase the ABV by a percent or two, killing off the yeast (assuming the batch was close to the tolerance of the yeast). Would the yeast make icky tastes in response?

    Of course it would have the highly undesirable effect of increasing the potency of the mead...

    Comments everyone?

    Thanks,
    Pewter

  2. Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    Interesting ...

    So, your idea is that, if I want to make a batch at X%, then I choose a yeast which has a ceiling of Y% (for some Y < X), and then, at some amount < Y, pop in enough neutral spirit to get me up to X?

    Here's my first set of reactions (none of which address your "can this be done" question, since I don't have the mead-making chops!):

    • would that make the mead ineligible for competition, since a commercial alcoholic product is included in the mead?
    • would that make the mead technically illegal here in the U.S., since fortification (esp. distillation) is illegal?


    Merry

  3. Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    What's the point of stabilizing if you are just going to add alcohol anyway? Also, adding more alcohol changes the SG. If you are at an SG you want to maintain, adding alcohol will cause the number to change.

    And this wouldn't work anyway unless you raised the alcohol to as high as it would have killed the yeast in the first place.

  4. #4

    Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    What you'd have is called a fortified wine, or in this case mead. Port is made by adding brandy to wine for flavor and to stop the fermentation. At least to my understanding.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    Quote Originally Posted by Meriadoc
    What's the point of stabilizing if you are just going to add alcohol anyway? Also, adding more alcohol changes the SG. If you are at an SG you want to maintain, adding alcohol will cause the number to change.
    • would that make the mead ineligible for competition, since a commercial alcoholic product is included in the mead?
    • would that make the mead technically illegal here in the U.S., since fortification (esp. distillation) is illegal?
    The desire is to kill the yeast to prevent additional fermentation or a restart later and to do it without sulfate/sulfite or filtering. As Joe pointed out, even refrigeration is not a sure thing. Even the best racking will take some amount of yeast along into the new container. So if I kill the yeast with Everclear, then no bottle bombs and any backsweetening I do will not start fermentation again...

    First question... I suppose it depends on which contest and what the rules were. I am not generally entering contests. I have a big problem with how to bottle stuff for Pennsic since it will likely get fairly warm during the week or two in my tent before it is consumed. It would be nice NOT to have any bottle bombs...

    Second question... Illegal for sale? My mead is already illegal for sale since I am doing it as a hobby. Illegal for consumption? No more than any other mixed drink on the market...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    Quote Originally Posted by Pewter_of_Deodar

    Comments everyone?

    Pewter,

    Have you tried this yet? It sounds like you’re pretty sure of the results.

    If you haven’t yet, bear in mind that Everclear is very similar to Absolute Ethanol (ETOH). In one of my previous posts I mentioned ETOH is used in fixation.

    “Ethanol is used for fixation so it not only evacuates H20 from cells but it also causes serious cellular shrinkage and is a strong cytoplasmic coagulant. I mention that to give you an idea of the kind chemical effect ethanol has on things.”

    Absolute ethanol will cause forced cellular lysis of the yeast cells which will in turn release the cellular contents into your mead and any off-flavors they may impart. This is different that autolysis which occurs as yeast cells are not able to grow and reproduce when the alcohol rises to a certain level beyond their tolerance and the die off.

    I’d guess that the Everclear is also going to bring a rocket fuel flavor into your mead as well, although since I’ve never done this I’d be guessing at that. I know we used to mix it up in laboratory when I was a Lab Technologist and we had to mix it down a long way for it to be palatable.

    Everclear is also very hydrophilic, so it will begin evaporating rapidly and taking on water as soon as you uncap it. I think it will disperse and dilute almost logarithmically quickly when it hits your mead. I don’t think it will maintain its alcohol level when it hits the mead, so you’d have to figure out what the proper amount of Everclear to add to the mead in order to yield the correct alcohol level to kill off your yeasts.

    Take a chance, Custer did! LOL

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  7. Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    Quote Originally Posted by Pewter_of_Deodar
    Quote Originally Posted by Meriadoc
    would that make the mead technically illegal here in the U.S., since fortification (esp. distillation) is illegal?
    Second question... Illegal for sale? My mead is already illegal for sale since I am doing it as a hobby. Illegal for consumption? No more than any other mixed drink on the market...
    Nope -- I'm not talking about selling, or drinking, but producing. It's illegal to distill spirits here in the States, or even (as I understand it) to distill wine, even for personal consumption...

    Merry

    p.s., i'm not to the point of submitting meads for competition, myself; it was just something that came to mind...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    Quote Originally Posted by Meriadoc
    [
    Nope -- I'm not talking about selling, or drinking, but producing. It's illegal to distill spirits here in the States, or even (as I understand it) to distill wine, even for personal consumption...
    I'd like to hear from people if I am wrong but distilling to me involves upping the alcohol level in something by the process of distillation (which could be freezing, heating and condensing, other things like that).

    What I am talking about relates more to someone mixing a drink using coke, rum, and a shot of Everclear. There's nothing illegal about mixing Everclear and Hawiian punch is there? I mean you wouldn't consider that to be distilling Hawaiian punch? (What is illegal is the hangover you get and how lots of people puke their guts out later that night, or so I've heard. ) At least that's my way of seeing it...

    I guess I need to know if I am wrong... I appreciate the questions...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar
    Have you tried this yet? It sounds like you’re pretty sure of the results.
    Not at all. It is just an idea I had. I am pretty sure, and your comments reinforce the idea that enough Everclear would drop the yeast in their tracks. The rest of your comments were exactly the sort of feedback I was looking for...

    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar
    If you haven’t yet, bear in mind that Everclear is very similar to Absolute Ethanol (ETOH). In one of my previous posts I mentioned ETOH is used in fixation.

    “Ethanol is used for fixation so it not only evacuates H20 from cells but it also causes serious cellular shrinkage and is a strong cytoplasmic coagulant. I mention that to give you an idea of the kind chemical effect ethanol has on things.”

    Absolute ethanol will cause forced cellular lysis of the yeast cells which will in turn release the cellular contents into your mead and any off-flavors they may impart. This is different that autolysis which occurs as yeast cells are not able to grow and reproduce when the alcohol rises to a certain level beyond their tolerance and the die off.
    So if I understand this right, self-poisoned yeast stay intact (don't rupture) when they die? I wonder if a good racking, after the mead has cleared, to get rid of the majority of the yeast, followed by the Everclear shock treatment? Thoughts? If there aren't many yeast to start with, will the few that get ruptured make a lot of difference in the taste?

    So is there another way? Possibly a type of alcohol available on the market that would not rupture the yeast but would kill them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar
    I’d guess that the Everclear is also going to bring a rocket fuel flavor into your mead as well, although since I’ve never done this I’d be guessing at that. I know we used to mix it up in laboratory when I was a Lab Technologist and we had to mix it down a long way for it to be palatable.
    Would the taste age out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar
    Everclear is also very hydrophilic, so it will begin evaporating rapidly and taking on water as soon as you uncap it. I think it will disperse and dilute almost logarithmically quickly when it hits your mead. I don’t think it will maintain its alcohol level when it hits the mead, so you’d have to figure out what the proper amount of Everclear to add to the mead in order to yield the correct alcohol level to kill off your yeasts.
    I am currently thinking that I require about 1 cup per 6 gallon batch to achieve the level I need assuming original honey is what the yeast could tolerate and stopping the batch at between 1.01 and 1.02 FG.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar
    Take a chance, Custer did! LOL
    Grin... that creates a picture of doom... of course bottle bomb shards in my tent walls does so as well...

    I will likely try it on 1 gallon out of a larger batch just to see. If it's acky, I might move on to the filters being discussed in the other thread...

    Thanks for your inputs,
    Pewter


  10. #10

    Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    Pewter, I don't believe you need use anything as strong as everclear to kill off the yeast.

    "Port --- A sweet fortified wine from Portugal's upper Douro Valley; shipped from Porto. Brandy is added to partially fermented grape juice, stopping fermentation and producing a strong sweet wine that is then matured for years! "

    On average brandy is 30 to 40 proof, 15% - 20% ABV.

    Think about a pint rather then a gallon. With a pint you could start out small 10%? wait day and see what happens. Then up it every other day till the yeast die and see what it taste like.

    This gives me an idea for the 6 gallons of 50 proof Breakfast Tea metheglin I have, what better way to stop fermentation in a batch of mead then adding mead.

    Anthony

  11. #11
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    Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    My "Elixer of Death to Yeast" aka very stuck batch of Orange/Spice might do the trick!

    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    Hey Pewter,

    I think Anthony (Dmntd) is probably right about the brandy being a more compatible way to nuke the last of the yeasts. They also fortify wine and champagne with brandy, and it's a pretty common way to "fortify" most wines over in the old country too. I think that a gradual addition of the brandy to slowly raise the level of alcohol to tolerance would be a good way to do it so as not to "shock" the mead or the yeast.

    Let's see, I'm pretty sure that when yeasts die naturally the action on the cell is different than for forced cellular lysis. I'll see about some research on that. Different chemical reactions on the same target can yield very different results.

    I'm not sure about the flavor aging out. It may, maybe a one gallon test batch can answer that question.

    Custer is a reference from when we were playing low level D&D parties. "OK you see this big wooden door . . . come on. . . take a chance, Custer did!" LOL

    I like the idea of filtration on this one. No need to add anything to your mead, no guesswork, just run it through the filtering pad/disk/whatever and your yeasties are gone, your mead is stabilized and it's clear as a summer day in SoCal. Wait, it's been kind of cloudy lately.

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  13. Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    Quote Originally Posted by Pewter_of_Deodar
    First question... I suppose it depends on which contest and what the rules were. I am not generally entering contests. I have a big problem with how to bottle stuff for Pennsic since it will likely get fairly warm during the week or two in my tent before it is consumed. It would be nice NOT to have any bottle bombs..
    I just learned from a winery I just visited that bentonite isn't just a clearifyer, but a heat stabilizer as well. This particular winery uses bentonite frequently for that reason. I havn't tested this yet myself. But maybe it will solve your problem?

  14. Default Re: A different way to stop a batch????

    Just my 2 cents...
    I use Ethanol in the lab on an almost daily basis. As Oskaar mentioned, it is used in rapid dehydration of tissue. The stuff is 100% and when added to orange juice it curdles it. Pretty nasty looking stuff, tastes even worse. We used to inject it in small doses in oranjes and large seedless grapes, but that's another story
    I would much rather go with the filtration systems...

    Hope this helps,
    Ted

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